Okavango Freshwater Biodiversity Information Case Study

HOORC is implementing a CASE STUDY ON THE OKAVANGO DELTA for the EU-funded project “Integration of freshwater biodiversity in the development process throughout Africa: mobilising information and site demonstrations.”

This “IUCN Species Survival Commission .” project will enable water resource managers and environmental planners throughout Africa to integrate information on freshwater biodiversity within the development process. Currently, that information is inaccessible due to its disorganised and dispersed state. This result will be achieved through training workshops, development of expert networks, and mobilisation of existing information. The data will be synthesised into an appropriate format.

This project will build on existing initiatives and national expertise. Best practice mechanisms for integrating biodiversity data into the development process will be demonstrated at selected sites. These combined actions will build capacity to enable national planners fulfil their obligations to the “UN Convention on Biological Diversity .” and other major environmental agreements. Access to information, as defined in the Rio Principle 10, will be greatly improved through the project web-enabled database. This project will address issues of knowledge, empowerment, and governance.

The local OKAVANGO CASE STUDY will demonstrate how the biodiversity information can be effectively integrated within a long-term programme for monitoring water quality as part of the “Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP)”. HOORC is responsible for the successful implementation of all activities relating to this case study. The result will be a programme for long-term monitoring of freshwater biodiversity by institutions and local stakeholders already involved in the ODMP project and the integration of this information into the formal ODMP structure. On behalf of the Okavango Delta Management Plan project secretariat, the Department of Environmental Affairs will then ensure that freshwater biodiversity data will be used to plan future development projects in the Delta and to assess those proposed by Botswana’s upriver neighbours. Outputs will include improved and updated Species databases, an Index of Biotic Integrity for the Okavango Delta, a long-term water monitoring programme based on biological monitoring, and a best-practice-guideline on how to integrate biodiversity information within a larger programme on environmental monitoring, in this case the ODMP. Strong linkages are being forged with existing monitoring projects in HOORC including the “UCL Darwin project”. and the “Biokavango project”. Contact Jessica Jones (jjones @ orc.ub.bw) for more information on this project.